Paul Robert Lloyd writes: “As more services require a Facebook account to use them, I wonder if it’s set to become the next Microsoft Windows; a popular piece of software that becomes the only choice available.”
I first read this as “an unpopular piece of software that becomes the only choice available.”
Plenty of people grumble about Facebook. Windows doesn’t seem to have inspired many people to delight when its manufacturer became the biggest company in the world, as Microsoft did in 1998. To me, it feels as if both are unpopular in an emotive sense, despite their ubiquity—though I feel more confident saying that about Windows than Facebook.
But my perspective is probably horribly slanted. Was Windows popular, in its heyday of the late 90s? Popular, that is, in the sense of being widely loved rather than just widely used?
Perhaps it was. I was in the privileged position at the time of being able to look on Windows from a height as a user of Unix workstations and tedious geek blah, so I would never have appreciated its value as a straightforward way of running a personal computer.
Perhaps there were millions of people given liberation and joy by the friendliness and flexibility of Windows, and by its universal availability as a result of its straightforward, resource-friendly design.